Background: A combination of cisplatin and vinorelbine chemotherapy is effective in cases of advanced non-small cell lung cancer, but the optimum administration schedule for both drugs has not yet been defined. The aim of this study was to determine the maximum dose of vinorelbine that can be tolerated while receiving a fixed dose of cisplatin every 3 weeks and to observe the response in Japanese patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer who had not previously received chemotherapy. Methods: Cisplatin was given at a dose of 80 mg/m2 on day 1. Vinorelbine was administered on days 1 and 8 at a starting dose of 25 mg/m2 that was then increased by 5 mg/m2 increments. This treatment was repeated every 3 weeks. Results: Twenty-one patients received a total of 54 chemotherapy cycles consisting of three different vinorelbine dosages. Toxicity and efficacy were evaluated in all of the patients. The main dose-limiting toxicity was neutropenia. Grades 3-4 leukopenia and neutropenia were observed in 57% and 86% of all cycles, respectively. These conditions were reversible and did not result in death from toxicity. The most severe non-hematological toxicity symptom was a grade 3 infection and reaction at the site of injection. The maximum tolerated dose of vinorelbine was 35 mg/m2. The objective response was noted in one of six patients at dose level 1, in four of 12 patients at dose level 2 and in two of three patients at dose level 3. Conclusion: The recommended doses were 80 mg/m2 for cisplatin and 30 mg/m2 for vinorelbine. The combination of cisplatin and vinorelbine repeated every 3 weeks is well tolerated and has shown promising anti-tumor activity against non-small cell lung cancer.
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